Watch the Extended Perf./Breakdown online guitar lesson by John Stowell from Modern Chord Melody

Extended Perf./Breakdown Many of the same devices that I use in the melody also appear in my improvisation here. I'm using the chords from the melody as the basis for some of my solo, often isolating individual notes of the inversions and displacing octaves to create modified arpeggios. I try to extend the range of an idea by connecting different positions of scales and arpeggios on the neck. I want to have the ability to internalize a sound and locate it anywhere. Having the ability to move smoothly between positions can begin with memorized fingerings, gradually progressing to spontaneously connecting the patterns.
I like to employ the open strings, both in my chord melodies and improvisations. Some care is required here with the right hand (in my case using a combination of pick and three fingers) to achieve a balance between the fretted notes and open strings; this texture works best at medium to slow tempos or when a key center is played for a number of bars. I generally use one of the top three open strings, and I've discoved voicings by simply picking a key and a chord quality and finding which open strings apply. I'll then experiment by adding the open string(s) to an existing fingering and let my ear guide me. Over time I've acquired a vocabulary of voicings I like that I've used in some of my melodies, improvisations and accompaniments.